Entries to Win Afghan

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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Washing Machine Tales

I thought I'd give you the whole washing machine saga starting with 55 years ago. When you are done rolling your eyes, we will begin.

When we were first married, it was laundromat land. We lived in tiny masonite campus housing affectionately called "the shacks." They were demolished the year we moved. This is a good thing.

We moved to Michigan to a much larger house than the shack, but no washer. My Mom brought me her old Easy Spin Dryer which was how she washed all our family clothes until I was about ten. This is not that machine, but it's the exact same model. The large side is an agitator tub , then you transferred the clothes to the spin dry side. When I was a kid, we also had a separate wringer (mangle) that we would put the clothes through to get them even dryer before hanging on the line. This machine was new in the 1940s and now it's 1970 when I'm trying to use it.
Easy Spin Dryer

If you are local, you'll remember Briggs Hardware, and Woody Briggs. He was so awesome. He had a basement room full of all kinds of parts for pretty much everything that was out of date. At least twice he helped me fix that washer until it finally gave up the ghost.

We bought one of these. It's a little Hoover Twin Tub washer that used the same principle. Wash on one side, transfer the clothes and then spin them. It hooked to a sink faucet. It worked well enough, and was adequate for two people. Mine was brown. I think it cost in the neighborhood of $55.
Hoover Twin Tub washer

I just looked at the pictures of when we moved to this property, and that is the washer we brought here. However, it wasn't long after that we started taking in foster kids. There is no way you could do enough laundry for a family in that little machine. I don't remember if it died, or if we sold it. And I don't remember how we got our next machine or what kind it was. It was probably not new. I think the Griffis family from Pentwater might have gotten it for us. Roy was either still doing appliance sales and repair, or had recently switched to carpeting.

Anyway, that one really and truly died in the summer of 1977. Marie was visiting me. So we had three adults, three small boys, and an assortment of random teenagers that sometimes stayed here, usually ate here, worked on bicycles here, and generated mucho laundry.

This created a total crisis. I was doing about two loads of laundry every single day. I'm telling you all this because it led to an unusual (for me) situation. There was still a Sears catalog store in town, and they did have appliances on the floor. Instead of doing careful comparison shopping and thinking about the purchase for at least days, if not longer, Marie and I went to Sears. They had a large capacity washer on sale, and I brought it home somehow. I believe it cost $250, and I also have no idea how we got it here. I must have borrowed a truck from someone.

Anyway, that is the washer I'm still using. It has actually worked for more years than the Easy Spin Dryer.

It has had to have some serious repairs one other time. At that time, the repairman (the same one who came yesterday) said, "You want to keep this washer running as long as you can because the new ones just aren't anywhere near as good."

When he came yesterday, he said the new ones are even worse than when he was here before. He still had a few parts that would fit this one in his storage. It got a new pump and a new belt. We think it should be good for another 10 years, which is all I'll need it to last. If you can see the belt, there are a bunch of the teeth broken right out of it.

This is Steve, of AC/DC Repair Service. No web site. Call 1-888-736-7872. He's willing to actually fix your older appliances if he can get parts. He also kept my stove going when the oven failed a few years ago. And if that stove goes, I may give up cooking altogether.
washing machine repair

Today's news is almost all research for the book. I did errands from Scottville to Ludington, went to a number of places trying to find information that I want for the book. And I took a walk. No actual writing, but I think I'm ready for the next segment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Yesterday's Fame

Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, and the North Country Trail Association asked me to help promote the trail and encourage people to give to support the trail. I was happy to do this.

A few weeks ago (see link at end), I went with a staff member to Sterling Marsh to record some segments to be edited into short videos for promotion. The first two pictures here are stills from those.

Then yesterday, there was an hour-long Zoom webinar featuring moi answering questions that people submitted. I'm sort of reeling from the fact that almost 200 people signed up for that. Here's a screen capture from that interview. I wore my NCT shirt, but you couldn't see the logo on the front, and the color was too light. Should have just worn a dark shirt! Anyway, if you are interested... some of the questions are the "same old." But there were a few that aren't asked as often.

If you would like to hear me, the program is available on You Tube at Joan Young: Live

Today the washing machine got fixed. That's a good story which you may hear about tomorrow. I also continued to work on a real mess from the pantry. And I attempted to keep writing. Total words in Vacation from DMS is now at 18,901.

See Sterling Marsh Shenanigans

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Christmas Arrives

I wanted to share with you what I did today, but I don't have a link I need yet, so that will have to wait. Meanwhile, I'll show you that it's Christmasy here now. We haven't had a tree since 2020. I was hiking both of the last two years and Om wasn't even home.

He decided that it was OK to go even smaller with the tree, and I think it looks great.
Christmas tree

He also decided to display his Dickens Christmas village. We've been trying to sell it, but nobody seems to want this kind of stuff now. Here is one part.
Departement 56 Dickens village

Here's the rest.
Dickens Christmas village

I spent almost all of today on a volunteer project for the North Country Trail Association. Hopefully, I'll be able to share pictures and stuff about that tomorrow.

Also, there was an extended bell choir practice this afternoon because our big concert is in ONE WEEK. And I bought groceries. That is enough for one day!

See 2020 Christmas Tree

Monday, November 27, 2023

First Snowshoe Day this Winter

Went for two short snowshoe walks today. The first one I did on my traditional snowshoes.
wooden snowshoes

I really prefer the way those feel on my feet, but since I hadn't really compared them in the same space, in the afternoon I walked with the Luna foam snowshoes that I took on the big hike.

Here's where I walk out back. The deer also like to use the trail where I got the grass whacked down. It was well-traveled before I went outside.
trail in snow

But when I get farther from the house, then I'm using a trail the deer made. This is harder walking because the grass isn't cleared.
deer trail in snow

Here's what I was walking on my first day in snowshoes a year ago. A little more "romantic." A lot harder.

So, now that I've worn them both on the same day, what do I think? Well, I really still like my wooden ones. However, they never would have been useable on the big hike. Sometimes I needed to take the snowshoes off and strap them to my backpack. The longer shoes wouldn't have been as easy to get over rocky terrain (where snow may not have completely covered things) or fallen logs.

However, I had to learn to be careful to get the velcro straps fully engaged with each other, and even then, they were sometimes a problem. As the day went on the velcro would clog with snow and ice, shortening the length where it was making contact and holding. Also, there is no left or right to these shoes. They are exactly the same except for the way the straps are mounted. Actually, this is also true of my wooden ones. However, the foam ones always seemed to be on the wrong feet no matter which way I wore them. Once again, they are made for bigger feet than mine and the ends of the velcro straps caught on things which led to the first problem mentioned above.

The wooden ones need new bindings. I was not able to make the military bindings work. I'm sure I can made bindings, but it's just added to the huge list of things I could/should do.

I will tell you that I must have been in great shape a year ago. I did a total of about a mile on them today and that was plenty!

In other news: client work in the morning. Pantry, research and writing. Vacation from DMS is up to 17,960 words.

See First Snowshoe Day Last Winter

Sunday, November 26, 2023

It's the Snow

If you live nearby, you know what the news is. Snow. Real snow.

I successfully finished a project for a client and worked on the pantry a little. I also wrote a few more words, including one harder part, but it doesn't add up very fast.

Now I have to scoot because Om and I are doing a Lord of the Rings marathon! One more to go.

See First Snow

Saturday, November 25, 2023

My Little Sausage

Sunny is all trussed up like a sausage for the winter before we start getting snow. Perhaps the first significant fall tonight and tomorrow. I had to go buy some new rope, but the cover is in good condition.

So, yes this means I'm not taking the trailer on my January trip. And yes, this means that Marie is not going with me. Her back is giving her fits, and she can't ride that far. This will be a trip to see people that are more in my world than hers; she was just going to go for the fun of it. But it won't be fun at all if she can't move. I'm sorry she can't go, but it's OK.
travel trailer covered for winter

I kept puttering at finishing the last of the repair jobs over the last week or so. The light switch is properly mounted in the box, although it's not flush. Maybe I can improve that another time, but for now, it's OK.
trailer light switch

I mounted a paper towel holder under the kitchen cupboard.
paper towel holder in trailer

And, Sue had created a little shelf for the corner under the counter, but it always tipped backwards. I think I've now got that fixed. But it's a rough job. If this works, we'll call this a template for a nice shelf. It's very handy and was a great idea.
corner shelf in a small trailer

In other news: the kitchen floor is almost cleared. I put everything back in the trailer that won't matter if it freezes, but that leaves me a lot of stuff to keep in the house. I'm not sure where all that is going to go. There's just so much to do. I did client work in the morning, and worked on putting the trailer to bed and cleanup all afternoon. I'm whipped.

See Trailer Repairs

Friday, November 24, 2023

Two Spaces Done

Two of the spaces in the pantry are now clean and organized. Parts of some others, but no picture until they are done!

This is the northeast wall- the one that had to have two shelves removed to get the freezer out. Everything is clean and sorted. This section was previously well-organized. It was just filthy from the mice.
clean pantry

This is my camping storage. I did get rid of some things so that stuff fits better. I tend to keep too many containers/bags etc. that "might be useful." I still want to keep some of those kinds of things, but I really don't need as many as I had!
camping gear storage

In 1992 we moved from 3000 square feet to 1900, even so, I thought this pantry was going to have enough storage space. Ha! Not even close. I am hoping to reduce things enough in this cleaning round that the floor is not pretty much covered as well as the shelves.

Omer is anxious to have the mess cleaned up. Me too, but I really need to empty and clean the shelves opposite the first set above. They too are f-i-l-t-h-y. It just seems wrong to clean one side and not the other. But that can probably be done without covering the entire house.

Om took a car full of stuff to recycle. That helped.

In other news: I did client work in the morning. I worked on the pantry and wrote. Vacation from DMS is up to 16,361 words.

See Saying Goodbye to the GE Freezer

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Low Key Day

We went to the free community dinner at Radiant Church today. Josh went with us. They were taking photos for people against a decorative backdrop. Here is ours.

This event is always very busy. I am not sure how many people they serve, but a lot. (The paper reported that between eat-in and takeout, they served 504 dinners.)
community thanksgiving dinner

One nice perk is that there is pie for dessert.
piece of cherry pie

I worked on the pantry a bit, took a walk, and that's about it. Last year, for Thanksgiving, I took a hike!

SeeThanksgiving 2022
See Thanksgiving 2021

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Sad Screech Owl Story

I don't like showing pictures of dead animals, but when it is educational, I will do so. Today, I saw this miserable lump in the shoulder of the road. What is it?
dead Screech Owl

I flipped it over. Well, clearly a small raptor. Look at those talons.
dead screech owl

I was momentarily stumped. Such a short tail. So small. I quickly had an aha moment; it's a screech owl. That said, I've never heard one from my house, although this was only about a quarter mile away.

I love the little screech owls! Although this one is more gray, they are often brown. Their voice is not some sort of hoot, like most owls. It's a rather eerie whinny. I've been with more than one person who was frightened when they heard it. To be honest, I was taken aback the first time I heard one after many years of not hearing one.
dead screech owl

Here's the face. Notice the tufts of hair like ears. Because this one died with its eyes open, even though the feathers are roughed up, you can still see a bit of the fierce look. It's only about 9 inches from the top of its head to the tip of its tail. A normal size. I've never held one before. The closest I've been was to see one at a rehabilitation center from maybe 10 feet away. This was an awesome find, although I wish it hadn't tangled with a vehicle.
dead screech owl

They are much more common farther east where I grew up. Dad would get me up at night sometimes to go outside and listen to them calling. One of the best things my parents did for me was to get me out of bed to see or hear special things that happened after children were supposed to be in bed.

A number of years ago, I found an injured great horned owl in the cemetery. I ran home to get towels and wrapped it up, and brought it home. I took it to a rehab center, but it was too badly hurt and they had to euthanize it. I guess that was pre-blog. I must have pictures from that, though.

It was a busy day. An early store run to get back in time for the washer repair man who will return next week with the right parts. Then I worked on the pantry. After lunch I wrote and worked on the pantry some more, and took a walk. I won't show you the pantry until it's much closer to done. One really good piece of news is that I found two pieces of camping equipment that have been missing for two years. Words in Vacation from DMS are at 15,297

See Luna Moth

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Butchy Boy II Again

Long ago, I did a series of "Dogs of my Life." At that time, I wanted to share this picture, but I could not find it. I came across it this week. The reason it kept "disappearing" is that it was earlier than I realized. Butchy must have only been about two years old when this was taken. Link to more of Butchy Boy II's story below.

Of course, I got in trouble for holding the dog while wearing a white skirt. More to the point, why would anyone think that I should be allowed to wear a white skirt? I have no memory of the outfit. The more I think about it, the greater the mystery of what I was wearing. I started making almost all of my clothes in 5th grade, and I KNOW I made nothing like this. It must have been something Granny bought.

The picture was taken at Christmas 1959, so I was in 7th grade.
large dog on a girl's lap

The marbletop table in the picture is the one I have the Thanksgiving display on that I showed you a few days ago, and that is the same couch I still have, but two reupholstery jobs ago. The real surprise is that I remember one upholstery pattern prior to the stripes I'm sitting on! There was a matching chair, but it has bitten the dust.

In other news... I worked 2 hours on the pantry, but it only looks worse because I emptied more shelves to wash things. Need to get shelf paper before I'm putting them back. I worked for a client, went to the historical society to ask a question (no answer yet), and the words in Vacation from DMS are up to 14,211. I went to bell choir practice. It rained all day, so no walk at all happened. It feels like I don't have much to show for a whole day.

See Butchy Boy II

Monday, November 20, 2023

Saying Goodbye to the GE Freezer

It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago that we purchased this GE chest freezer. It was such an improvement over the old monster (link below when we said goodbye to that one). Every single time I opened this I felt thankful for its reliability and the light, and the ability to save food. Genuinely grateful for the ease of use.

But the time was right to let someone else have it who will get some good use out of it. I'd never used it again after the horrible mess I came home to in September 2021 to discover that the power had been out for days. We sure don't need that much freezer space any more, and it would have cost a fortune to fill it so that it would run efficiently.

I had sort of forgotten how much we had to take the pantry apart to get it in or out. My entire camping equipment shelves had to be removed, two of the regular pantry shelves had to come out, and all the recycling bins which would be behind me in this picture.
freezer in a pantry

All that stuff had to go somewhere. Right now it's piled in two places. Spread along the edges of every aisle in the upstairs of the house. For example:
stuff piled in a house

Or, it's on the porch (haha- good thing I cleared that off, right?). We might get rain tonight, so I covered it with tarps.
piles of stuff covered with tarps

Now the freezer space is empty. But what a mess. There is mold under where the freezer was from that fatal thawing. The mouse poop is impressive everywhere. It's going to take more than one day to clean, sort and replace all this stuff, or at least all I plan to keep. I suspect there is stuff even I am willing to give up.

Ultimately, I'm hoping to put in some more shelves and get the tools and hardware sorted even better. But that's not happening right away.
dirty pantry

In other news, I did client work this morning. I had a Zoom meeting. I walked to town and did a couple of errands. Other than that, this project filled all the rest of the time. I am glad to have this accomplished, but am kind of dreading how long the cleaning is going to take, and I can't put that off. The house is too full of displaced stuff. Even I am not willing to walk around that many piles indefinitely. I can carefully squeeze into the bathroom, and there is a narrow aisle to the microwave. The refrigerator door needs to open, so that aisle is a little wider. Every canning jar is filthy. Of course, they would have to be washed just before any use, but I hate to put them back so dirty. This is going to be a big project.

See Saying Goodbye to the Crosley Custom

Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Day of Thanksgiving

It was a day filled with music and other good stuff.

The bell choir played a very nice arrangement of "Our Great Redeemer Praise." The treble part was pretty hard, but the performance went really well. However, I don't have a video of that. Sorry.

What I do have is a video of the choir singing "Simple Gifts." You will recognize that it's the same tune as "Lord of the Dance." However, the song comes from the Shaker heritage, written in the mid 1800s. However, the tune was used by Aaron Copeland in "Appalachian Spring," which made it more familiar to the general public.

As part of the service the church said thanks to Becky Sopha who has been part of the music ministry for 40 years. Becky's influence goes far beyond this church. She directs the choir that does Christmas and patriotic concerts that I've shared with you over the years. She plays organ/piano at the church, directs the choir (although in the video above, she is playing the organ and Lew is directing), sometimes sings, and is a member of the handbell choir. She gives lessons, and a lot of young people have come to love music because of her.

There were 100 carnations in a bucket and everyone who wanted to was allowed to come forward and give one to her.
woman receiving carnations

Here are Carleen (our bell choir director) and Becky exchanging a hug with the carnation.
women hugging

There was a little reception afterwards for her as well. So deserved!

Then Omer and I went to Scottville where Thanksgiving meals were being served to Seniors at the high school. This was small-town perfection. The Senior Center, Mason County Central Schools, Scottville Downtown Development Authority, and Scottville Optimist Club sponsored it. The Girl Scouts helped as hostesses to clear tables and serve drinks.
community dinner

They had live music from a local band. What fun! Mostly polkas and waltzes. (Notice the accordion)
small live band

And people liked that! Notice there are even two couples dancing! The Scouts danced from time to time also- nothing organized, just kids being spontaneous- holding hands and circling.
small town dinner and dance

After that, I walked home for my exercise, and haven't done much else. I wrote a few words, but I'm not even going to count it yet.

There is a picture of Becky directing the choir a few years ago in the link below. That concert was before I joined the bell choir.

See West Shore Choir